Posts Tagged ‘healing within a healing’

Patience is Hard 6-28-15

In this sermon I explore the healing within a healing from Mark 5:21-43. A man seemingly loses his chance for a miracle when Jesus is distracted by another miracle…yet with God, nothing is impossible.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/patience-is-hard-6-28-15

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Each and every week as I’m writing my sermon there are two phrases that are the easiest…the shorter of the two is my closer…Amen…and this is also my favorite word to write because it means that the sermon is finished.

The other phrase is the opener…the one that never changes regardless of the topic or the scripture for the week…that opening phrase that serves as a simple reminder of the gift of God’s grace offered to us through Christ…you know the line…as I just said it…Grace and peace to you…

Some weeks I sit down at my computer and type out that opening line and fly right into the sermon without the slightest pause because the Spirit is flowing…other weeks, the Spirit is still stewing around, and the message just won’t come out.

That was the case on Friday. I had that opening line typed…pretty much all day…and I just kept staring at the blank page…and no matter how hard I was wracking my brain, trying to get this big jumble out…it wouldn’t happen…stuff kept coming up…breaking news, phone calls, emails…interruptions just kept coming and throwing off my normal rhythm…my normal routine, kept getting shunted to the background.

But that was sorta fitting this week…because that’s a pretty good description of the entire week…normal kept getting tossed out the window. It all started on Tuesday morning as I headed to town for text study with other area pastors, pausing on the way to drop off the glass recycling in one of the bins down in town…and as I stood there at the bin, a bottle fell out of the bag, broke on the ground and bounced up to hit my knee…cutting me open and slicing my pant leg all at once…and so instead of going to text study, I had to go home and clean up my leg.

With that, my expectations for the day changed…and things happened differently. Now, Wednesday…I had been invited to participate in an adult Bible Study down in town…and then following the study I had a scheduled meeting with a fellow pastor to discuss some upcoming activities…but once again…stuff happened…and just as we were wrapping up the Bible study my phone rang…and I learned that my father in law was in the hospital…you can imagine how that changed things up for the day…as we scrambled to figure out what to do, and how we could help…and as we experienced that helpless feeling of being too far away to do anything, along with the recognition that even if we are there, there’s nothing you can do anyway…nothing except hope…and trust that those who can do something, will.

The week continued that way…random things just kept coming up…kept getting in the way of the “normal.” And though none of these things were bad…they resulted in Friday coming and going…and my brain was a hot mess…and there was still no sermon.

Through all of that craziness, I kept thinking about the gospel…about this familiar story of two healings…of two interactions…this story, that comes across as a story within a story…a healing within a healing…this moment of interruption…and as we often experience when we dwell in the word of God…we find ourselves relating to a character…and for me, that character is Jairus.

Imagine for a moment…that your child is sick…and this is no ordinary head cold…this is a sickness which has no cure…nothing that anyone can do has helped…and your child is at the point of death…this is an unfortunate reality in our world…there are some that have experienced it first hand…perhaps some here today have walked that awful road of seeing your child suffering…fearing the worst…and in those moments we feel powerless…but if there is any chance…any hope…won’t we go after it with every ounce of our being? (pause)
That’s where Jairus is at today…and Jairus is no slouch…we hear that he’s the ruler of the synagogue…and in a Jewish community…this is a pretty important person…in line with the mayor…and as such he likely was a man of means…someone with the influence and wealth to bring in doctors….but nothing works…and now his young daughter…lies on the verge of death.

But Jairus has heard rumors…stories of a traveling rabbi…a man that some claim to be the son of God…a man that has healed many…a man that has cast out demons…a man…that displays the power of God…and Jairus believes that this man…this Jesus…is his last hope.

Nothing is going to stand in his way…he presses through the crowd…and with no shame, this important man falls at the feet of this traveling rabbi…and he begs…he pleads with Jesus…Please…PLEASE…my daughter is dying…come and save her.

Whatever it is about this instance…about this passionate request…Jesus recognizes the need…and without a single word, they set off together…I can only imagine how relieved Jairus must have been. He’s going to do it…he’s coming with me…my daughter will live…she WILL be healed. His insistence has paid off…and despite all the hardships…and despite the powerless feeling of not being able to help his daughter…finally he has procured the power of God to perform a miracle.

But he also knew they needed to hurry…they needed to make their way through the crowd to get to his house before it was too late…Surely Jesus…if he really is the Son of God…he will understand…he won’t delay…he’ll be just as forceful to get there as Jairus.

But then…out of nowhere…Jesus…just…stops. Imagine being Jairus at that moment…Lord, what are you doing? We’ve got to keep moving…come on, before its too late…she’s dying…But Jesus just stands there looking around…and he asks the weirdest question… Who touched my clothes?” (pause) WHAT? WHO CARES? LOOK AT THIS CROWD…EVERYONE IS TOUCHING YOU…WHAT DOES IT MATTER…MY DAUGHTER CAN’T WAIT…LET’S GO.

But Jesus just keeps looking around…and all of the sudden some random woman comes up to him, falls at his feet and confesses that she touched him…but that’s not enough…she keeps talking…telling this story of her sickness and how she knew that all she had to do was touch his cloak and she’d be healed…and Jesus just stands there listening to her. (pause)

What do you think is going through Jairus’ head in this moment? Somehow I doubt that he’s just standing there calmly waiting while Jesus engages with this woman…he had to be going crazy…wouldn’t you, if you were in his shoes?

And sure enough…his fears come true…because as this exchange goes on between Jesus and the woman in the crowd…Jairus’ servants come up and tell him the worst possible news…your daughter has died…its over…you might as well leave Jesus alone. (pause)
NO!!! HOW CAN THIS BE? Jesus…you gave away my miracle…if you had ignored her, my daughter would have lived. (pause) We don’t hear what his words are in this moment…but wouldn’t that be how you would react…one moment it looks like everything is going to be okay…but then, because Jesus’ get’s distracted…because he get’s interrupted…you lose your miracle…your miracle goes a different direction…you lose out because God’s not paying attention.

Ever had a time like that? I time when you begged and pleaded for a miracle…a time when you prayed for something so hard…and didn’t get the answer you were looking for…and in that moment, it feels like God’s just not on your side. (pause)

I imagine that Jairus was in that boat…when his miracle goes the wrong direction…but the thing is that Jairus’ focus…his ability to comprehend…ends…with death. Because death marks a close for us doesn’t it? It represents a boundary that we can’t get across…a barrier that is insurmountable….but Jesus…well…Jesus has other ideas doesn’t he?

And as we see…death doesn’t stop Jesus…because the power of God…the ability of God…the miracles that are possible for God are not hindered by death…in this story…this encounter…this healing within a healing…this story within a story we are reminded that we have a God acting within our reality through Jesus Christ…that is not hindered by death…we have a God who’s power is greater than the power of death…we have a God who can and does act to do something about death.

And even in those moments when we can’t see that…in those times when our eyes are blinded by our own limitations…by our own lack of understanding…and all we can see is that which we fear…Jesus reminds us that we don’t have to afraid…we simply need to believe the promises that God has made that nothing in all of creation can separate us from His love…Do not fear…only believe. (pause)
Now granted, that’s often easier said than done…and there are times in our lives when those pressing issues…those fears loom larger than our faith…that’s human nature…but praise God that our shortcomings do not hinder him…and that even in the midst of these things God is still at work…that the saving grace of Jesus Christ still applies…and the power of the Holy Spirit is still flowing through this world…even in ways that are far beyond our ability to wrap our heads around.

We have a God who has acted out against the powers of sin and death in this world, even in the midst of situations that blind us to it…and thankfully God has given us signs…things that we can hold on to that serve as reminders for us…reminders of the promises that God has made…and one of these things is our baptism…when the simple act of being washed in the water along with hearing this promises of God results in a time when God comes to us.

In a few moments…Nate Maher will come to this font and we believe the promises that are made that God comes upon him…and he will be called Child of God…made an heir to the promise of eternal life…even if we don’t understand how it all works.

And so in times like this, when the world gets in the way…and when our limited understanding is hindered for whatever reason…we remember the words of Luther that mirror the promises of God…I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or effort, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him…but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified me and kept me in true faith. In the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it united with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…in this Christian church day after day, he fully forgives my sins and the sins of all believers. On the last day he will raise me and all the dead and give me an all believers in Christ eternal life…This…is…most certainly true.

Truly there are moments in our lives when we lose sight of that…moments when our circumstances are too much…but praise be to God that this is not dependent on us…its not up to us…its already done…and even more amazing, there’s no limit to it.

Jairus may have been concerned that the woman got his miracle…that in order for her to win, he had to lose…but that’s not the way the grace of God works…for through the power of Jesus Christ, God made it possible for each and every one of us to experience this saving grace…and we see that Grace is not divided…it can only grow…this is…most certainly true. Amen.